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  1. Default Quick and Dirty Cross Country

    We are planning a two week coast to coast, roundtrip road trip. Yes, we realize we may well be crazy. We plan to spend two nights in LA and 3 in Sonoma County, but besides that nothing is really a must. Any suggestions for best cheap places to stop, quick drive by must see items, routes, WHATEVER. Starting in VA and ending in PA.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Out of time.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It might help if you tell us a little more about yourselves and your interests and goals for the trip, but to be honest you are already out of time as this would be a full 10 days of driving that are 'work' like, and you have 5 nights planned in 2 locations on the west coast. Can you find more time ?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default the line between crazy and dangerous

    Far too often people have these romanticized ideas of cannon-ball run style cross country trips, and it leads them to making plans that aren't just "crazy," they end up being so much work, they leave you exhausted and unable to enjoy anything, and at worst, end up being unsafe.

    The reality is you are already at the very maximum of what can be done safely, and I doubt you'd end up having much fun. VA and PA are big states, so things might shift a bit based on your exact starting ending points but here is the reality.

    You need a minimum of 4 overnight stops (4.5 to 5 days) to get from anywhere in VA to Los Angeles safely.
    You're looking at nearly a full day to drive from LA to Sonoma County.
    You need a minimum of 5 full days to get from Northern California back to PA.

    So what your trip looks like is Days 1-5 all day on the road arriving late on day 5 for your first overnight in LA, Spend day 6 in LA, Day 7 is driving to Sonoma, Day 8-9 are in Sonoma, Days 10-14 are driving home.

    It's not impossible, but it's not much fun. That plan leaves zero time for extra stops, detours, or anything fun while you are trying to cover 600 miles a day on the road - the maximum that you can safely cover each day, even with multiple drivers. If you try to squeeze in more "fun," by trying to cover more miles than that each day, you'll quickly run yourself into a dangerous situation.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the input. We plan to hike and hit up craft breweries along the route. The route (1 night each stop unless noted) as of today is:

    Richmond, Va to Nashville, TN
    Nashville to Oklahoma City
    Ok City to Albuquerque
    Albuquerque to LA (2 nights)
    LA to Bodega Bay (2 or 3 nights)
    Bodega Bay to Springdale, UT (2 nights)
    Utah to Denver, Co (possibly 2 nights)
    Denver to Kansas City
    Kansas City to Chicago
    Chicago to NE PA

    I know it is a lot. A few key points. We have to go to LA to see family and we have a free hotel in Bodega Bay and friends in Denver. Otherwise we are open to suggestions.

    Thanks for any input.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    You're simply trying to push far too hard to be safe, much less be in a position to think about doing any exploring of breweries or have time to hike.

    Really, even your shortest drives are too much to leave time for anything else, but you've got several drives that are simply dangerous.

    Your worst two examples are Albuquerque to LA and Bodega Bay to Springdale. Both of those drives are nearly 800 miles, and would require somewhere around 15 hours to complete. That's far too far to be safe, even with multiple drivers.

    If you want to do a trip like this safely, (much less something close to enjoyable) you need to rework your plans to keep your daily drives to a maximum of 600 miles. You don't always have to stop in major cities, and in fact, to keep to the kind of pace you are talking about, you really won't be able to. Smaller cities and towns along the interstates still have plenty of options for places to stay, and at this pace, driving and sleeping is just about all you're going to have time to do. You're also either going to have to add more time, eliminate some of the spots where you're going to spend two nights, or the more obvious idea would be to get rid of Bodega Bay. That stop is a massive detour, adding 2 days of driving to anything else you have planned. Your other alternative might be to get rid of Springdale, and drive directly from Bodega Bay to Denver via I-80 (which that alone would be pushing it to cover that distance in 2 days.)

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